JDC MOTORSPORTS FEELS HIGHS AND LOWS OF RACING DURING STAR MAZDA RACES IN NEW JERSEY Miller and Hulse remain championship contenders via podium finish and win MINNEAPOLIS, MN. (September 16, 2008) -- Racing at the newly constructed New Jersey...
JDC MOTORSPORTS FEELS HIGHS AND LOWS OF RACING DURING STAR MAZDA RACES IN
Miller and Hulse remain championship contenders via podium finish and win
MINNEAPOLIS, MN. (September 16, 2008) -- Racing at the newly constructed New Jersey Motorsports Park facility, JDC MotorSports continued its pursuit of back-to-back titles in the Star Mazda Championship Presented by Goodyear on September 13-14 with a pair of races. Rookie standout Joel Miller once again led the way for the multi-car team, finishing as the runner-up in Round #9 and fourth in Round #10 during the doubleheader. Chuck Hulse continued his pursuit of the Masters title with a pair of class wins via 11th and 15th place finishes. Series rookie Ernesto Otero and JDC newcomer Patrick O'Neill had less desirable races, as the Brazilian finishing 20th and 23rd, while the American came home 18th and 21st.
As the championship leader entering the event, Miller was confident that he could keep the momentum going in New Jersey. The Californian immediately positioned himself to do just that, consistently posting times among the leaders throughout testing and practice before earning the pole position for race one. Miller retained the top-spot when the starting lights went a few hours later on Saturday, and appeared headed towards his second win of the season when slower lapped traffic late in the race allowed the second place driver to find a way past. In the end, Miller added to his championship lead with his sixth podium finish of the season.
Returning to the cockpit of the No. 20 MAZDASPEED/K&N Air Filters/Sparco/Redline Oil/JDC MotorSports entry one day later, Miller launched from the front row for a second straight race. After a brief off, the MAZADASPEED Motorsports Driver Development Ladder race pilot was forced to deal with a damaged front wing the majority of the race, he remained in contention for the win until the conclusion of the 32-lap affair. When the checkered flag did wave, Miller had finished a somewhat disappointing fourth, pushing him back to second in the title chase entering the final two rounds of the season.
Like his younger teammate, Hulse traveled to the Thunderbolt Raceway circuit leading his respective championship fight. As expected, the test and practice sessions featured steady improvement by the California-based race pilot prior to showing his true skill in race conditions. Piloting the No. 12 Silicon Salvage/Redline Oil/JDC MotorSports car, Hulse was one of the drivers on the move in Round Nine. Having started 17th, he quickly worked his way up the time charts, eventually crossing the stripe 11th overall, earning his sixth Masters Series win of the season. One day later, the scene repeated itself via another strong drive. Taking a liking to the high-speed 2.5-mile road course, the championship leader started 18th and worked his way forward to a 15th place finish in Round 10, completing the weekend sweep and further extending his lead in the Masters Championship standings.
For Otero, who had scored top-10 finishes in each of the previous six races, the New Jersey event will be remembered as one of disappointment. The Brazilian was among the top-10 throughout testing and practice, and appeared headed towards a productive doubleheader when things began to go downhill in qualifying. Only managing to post the 15th best time in his No. 18 Brazilian Green Beef/Redline Oil/JDC MotorSports entry, Otero was forced to start in the often-more dangerous middle of the field. Keeping his nose clean at the start, he was steadily working his way forward, when his race came to an early end on lap 15, relegating him to a 20th place finish. Seeking to put the opening affair behind him, Otero improved somewhat in the second qualifying session, lining up 13th for Round 10. Unfortunately, this proved the highlight of his day, as on the pace lap Otero's gearbox broke, preventing him from even taking the start.
One of the premier drivers in West Coast Star Mazda competition, O'Neill joined JDC MotorSports in New Jersey expecting to challenge for the Expert Series wins and potentially a pair of top-10 finishes. Driving the No. 64 O'Neill Construction/Redline Oil/JDC MotorSports entry, the Californian steadily got quicker with each session on-course. O'Neill qualified between his teammates in 16th and was poised to achieve his goals in Round Nine on Saturday, unfortunately however, like Otero, his race came to a premature end on lap 28, dropping him to 18th in the final results. Returning to the fast road course one day later, the MOLECULE Formula Mazda Challenge championship leader was set to put the disappointment of race one behind him. Unfortunately, it was not to be, as O'Neill started 23rd and was only able to complete six laps in Round 10, earning a 22nd place result.
The JDC MotorSports Star Mazda Championship drivers will now take a short break from competition before contesting the penultimate event on the series calendar on October 2-3, as part of the Petit Le Mans event at Road Atlanta.